This race was so cold. I could see my breath the entire time. The announcer at the beginning said to watch out for icy patches. They’d tried to salt the course where needed but caution was still advised.
We arrived at the parking lot with about 30 minutes to spare, which was great because Josh prefers day of registration. Registering in advance makes him feel bad about not training. We signed him up for the 5k and used the porta-potties. I jogged around a bit to warm up and then gave up and sat in my heated car to warm up until 15 minutes before start time.
10k-ers started 10 minutes before the 5k so Josh and I separated while I made my way toward the front of the pack and tried to not freeze.
Mile 1 – 6:56
Dear readers, I thought I was going out at a spry, yet sustainable pace. Oops.
A mile in and I’m way overshooting my pace, running under what I usually aim for as a 5k pace during training. No bueno. I briefly contemplate whether following a 10k training plan for the first time in my life has given me super powers because I feel ok. I quickly decide to slow down and save the heroics for the end of the race if I still feel like a hero.
Mile 2 – 7:24
That’s more like it. It doesn’t feel like that much of a change in effort from mile 1, but in my heart I know I’m making a better choice. There’s a river on my left side that I assume looks really pretty when it isn’t obscured by fog.
Mile 3 – 7:22
I’m getting passed a lot. I’m right behind 2 women. From the back they look like they might be in my age group. How can you even tell? This pace is not comfortable. We run by a really fancy looking house where, inside, a dog is losing it’s damn mind. Poor puppy. It’s not going to get better for a long time.
Mile 4 – 7:24
Hey, look at me being consistent. That’s weird. Thank goodness this is the flattest course I’ve ever run in my life. In the middle of this mile we take a quick turn over a road and it’s the first time I’ve felt a little ice underfoot. Not too bad. Now the river’s on my right side and I can see a bunch of runners on the other side of it. The dog is still having a bad day.
Mile 5 – 7:33
I’m slipping. My goal average for this race was 7:30. I wonder if that first speedy mile will end up helping me or hurting me. Maybe both?
I’m wondering if I really like racing after all. How come this feels so hard but the people around me look like they’re jogging? Is this as hard for them as it is for me? Maybe I’m more of a “training” person than a “racing” person. I followed a pretty aggressive (for me) training plan. I should feel better than this, right?
Mile 6 – 7:36
Epiphany! The purpose of training isn’t to make the race feel easy. Racing is always going to be painful. The purpose is to expand your limits and find out what you’re capable of. Huh. What a cool hobby I have.
I wonder if I’m going to feel this bad for over 3.5 hours in the marathon next April.
I wish I’d taken the time to figure out why my Garmin’s been showing me lap time lately and not overall time. It would be helpful to know how long I’ve been running.
Final .2 – 7:08
Time to kick it out! There’s a final turn and then I see the finish arch. The 10k’ers come into a chute on the left and the 5kers are corralled through a chute on the right.
I see Josh on the side cheering for me. Oh thank god it’s so great to see him.
Then I see the clock. The first two numbers are 45. The next number is 5. I could actually get under 46 minutes! I give it all I have and sprint toward the finish, pretty sure I cross at 46:01.
Official Time – 45:58
Avg pace – 7:22
I’d crossed the start line 3 seconds after the clock started. I squeaked into the 45 minute range. Unbelievable. It was enough to earn me a PR by almost 2 minutes and first place for my age group. I feel like a superstar for about an hour.
Then I start thinking…I bet I could beat 45 next time…